Consumer Advocate Finds Alternative Energy Suppliers Provide Limited Savings
A consumer advocacy group has found that National Grid customers who switch to independent gas and electricity suppliers to save money actually wind up paying more.
That’ s according to the Public Utility Law Project, a group representing low-income utility customers.
Through deregulation several alternative energy suppliers have emerged in New York over the last decade. Some of the independent energy providers boast a savings of as much as 7% on utility bills.
The research shows that once the promotional periods expire, customers with the independent energy providers often see their bills go up over what they were paying with the traditional utility supplier.
The review which looked at energy prices form 30 different energy service companies found that Upstate residential customers who purchased natural gas or electricity from independent providers paid $413 more for electricity and $235 more for natural gas over the past two years, when compared with what they would have paid with National Grid. Only 16 percent of independent electricity customers saved money and only 8 percent of natural gas customers with independent suppliers saved money.
The independent providers say it’s impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of deregulation based on billing records, because the independent suppliers often provide services that the utility does not such as purchasing green energy from wind.